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Can they really handle the highway?

Discussion in 'Performance' started by Balloon-Kitty, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Balloon-Kitty

    Balloon-Kitty New Member

    Hi everyone! I just signed up for this forum. Regretably I don't own a mini truck of my own, but I plan on buying one soon! I just had a few questions and I figured you guys would be the perfect ones to ask.

    1.) Can they handle Canadian Highways? I'd need to use it on the highway almost daily for a few hours in the future, so this would be a must if I buy one... Some dealerships have been telling me, "Oh of course they can!", while other have said "Making them go 90kmh is a sure way to ruin them!". What's a speed that most models can do without trashing themselves?

    2.) I heard that right-hand-drive vehicles are going to be banned in Canada soon. Is this true?

    3.) Do they have any safety features to speak of?

    Thank-you so much for any help. <3
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011
  2. fupabox

    fupabox Well-Known Member

    They will most definitely do highway speeds without blowing apart..whoever told you that should be avoided like the plague..Are they comfortable to cruise all day on the highway...hell no..around town,secondary highways (80kph ) and occasional hwy driving is where they are most suited..if you are really wanting a kei truck/van.The Subaru Domingo or one of the turbo/supercharged vans will be more suited to frequent highway use....this is mostly my opinion...

    The Canadian government may ban them tomorrow,next week,never....impossible to say......some whiners are trying to screw up everyones fun..make sure to vote for politicians who allow adults to make informed decisions.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011
  3. Balloon-Kitty

    Balloon-Kitty New Member

    Thanks for the quick response! You've been a big help. :)
  4. TRAX and HORNS

    TRAX and HORNS Well-Known Member

    They are used all over Asia.
  5. starpuss

    starpuss Member

    buy a 5 speed and you will be fine.
  6. axle

    axle Member

    in my experience, driving my truck in a major freeway at 80-90kph is fine, what i don't like is those big 4x4 suv and speeding bus overtake me, my truck is shaking and feel i will be sweep away.:D
  7. blakkmoon

    blakkmoon Member

    way better than expected on the hwy ( handling is very good )
    I agree a 5 spd would probably be way better than my 3 spd auto

    saw a post a few days ago from someone with a subarooo with a cvt that said he was cruzin at 140 kph
    that would be so nice

    kieking still has one listed that I want so bad

    banned in canada
    maybe some day
    I was really worried too when I got mine last year

    get it now, and you dont have to worry
    no matter what happens
    there will be a grandfather clause for the thousands that are already out there

    3.) Do they have any safety features to speak of?

    tires, lights, horn, seat belts, brakes, signals
    Gary Simpson likes this.
  8. Stuff99

    Stuff99 Moderator Staff Member

    if you are really worried about highway speed get a turbo version and a 5 speed.
  9. Balloon-Kitty

    Balloon-Kitty New Member

    All of this info is very comforting, ;o I'm so excited about getting one!

    A question about the "turbo" comments though... Whenever I search for one with that description I wind up finding what look like vans, not trucks. (Any recommendations for dealerships in BC that would sell 5speed turbo ones that are officially mini trucks?)

    Oh, and I found a dealership selling LHD ones, and I thought they weren't allowed to do that for Canada. Any comments?:
  10. Stuff99

    Stuff99 Moderator Staff Member

    eh.. its not recommended cause they aint built LHD cept the mitsubishi mini cabs like in california.

    yes you can get trucks with turbos. Keesha had a yellow one with a turbo for sale back in the day when he was a dealer.
  11. TRAX and HORNS

    TRAX and HORNS Well-Known Member

    The only mini's I have ever run across that had turbo's is the Subaru and Suzuki. I believe Subaru made quite a few and Suzuki not so many. I sold a DD51T Turbo Suzuki truck to another dealer about 3 yrs ago. Not sure what ever happened to it. I also drove one about a year before I came across the one I had. They were both 4x4 High range only. They do have a little bit more punch.
  12. Psilosin

    Psilosin Member

  13. Ironraven

    Ironraven Active Member

    Just make sure not to drive highway speeds in 4WD, these are actual 4x4's not all wheel drive like modern AWD cars and that means driving them at speed in 4WD is dangerous and will ruin the front diff FAST.
  14. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    I consistently do expressway speeds here in Japan (80km/h+) in a four speed non-turbo Suzuki Carry. No issues for 2 years.
  15. Captain Nemo

    Captain Nemo Member

    :pop:Like breaking the sound barrier.

    These trucks aren't unsafe at any speed.
    It is the driver. Some never should drive above 25mph in a Honda Civic.

    But if you are willing to explore the abilities of the vehicle, and you do so prudently, then its not a question of the speed you are traveling at.

    It is the speed which you are traveling at when you hit an immovable object, such as a large rock or tree, or perhaps another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.

    I once took on a 1964 Oldsmobile 88, trading sideswipes with him while I in my Fiat 600 Multipla continued to try to pass him at 60mph. After my second nudge to his shiney paintwork he eased off, and I rocketed on by. It was a Saturday night, and I was on my way home from a hot date.

    When I got home, and checked there was no damage to my little bus.
    A few days later, I finally began to wonder what the blazes I was thinking on that road that night?:eek:

    Now, I know I was probably never in any real danger, we were both running at the same speed. So kissing sides was just that. But it did have a sobering effect on both of us.:rolleyes:

    If you can find a photo of an old Multipla, well not much difference with a kei. I ran the wheels off my little bus.

    Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, but only gently, if you listen to him it was a gingerly kind of thing while he learned what the limits of the plane were. Same thing with the kei.

    Good luck. And don't go kissing any Buicks at mid-night. The laws in 1964 were much easier than they are now.

    And they say that the Fiat is coming back next year with the 500. I feel like Mark Twain did about Haley's Comet. I hope it isn't fatal.:eek:

    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011
  16. copeina

    copeina Member

    I drove from Calgary to Winnipeg 2 weeks ago in a 1992 Hijet, 102000km (Now 103500km!). 5th gear is a true overdrive - no torque at all, so impossible to keep speed on even the slightest grade. But 4th gear at 90km/h worked good enough until the prairies flattened things out.

    I passed a total of 3 cars during the 19 hour drive, and 2 of them had big "experimental vehicle" stickers on them, so don't expect to be competing for position - just wind it up and enjoy the scenery.

    Now to repad that damned seat... :sly:

  17. zardoz

    zardoz Member

    I can second that...

    I just completed a round trip from Nova Scotia to Ontario ... about 3700 kms. Not teribly comfortable to drive a phone booth that far... but quite doable :)
    Gary Simpson and Evan M Cloutier like this.
  18. Stuff99

    Stuff99 Moderator Staff Member

    guess i should say i drove from Estevan, Saskatchewan to Lafeyette, Arkansas in my liteace. 120km/hr flat out... speed limit in some parts was 130 lol..
  19. Captain Nemo

    Captain Nemo Member


    Makes you wonder.

    Do you think anyone will ever go over Niagra Falls in a barrel?


    Gary Simpson likes this.
  20. coolbeans

    coolbeans New Member


    My 96 Suzuki S Carry does pretty well on the hiway..even in a strong headwind I can get 83,84kph in 5th..now, with no wind (very unusual in Wyo.), I once took it to 102kph, but usually cruise at 88,89kph..ride is suprisingly smooth in it, I recently put new 155/12/80's on, which work very well for hiway driving..in Wyo you can get a little MPV plate, and legally go anywhere but the Interstate. These are sure alot of fun!
  21. Captain Nemo

    Captain Nemo Member

    I love my Kei and drive it where ever possible, but,. . .

    That sounds about right.

    My 92 jumbo puts out about the same speeds, up to 60mph. But I had to use Garmin GPS to get the reading. Speedo is pegged at 30mph.

    Leon at Daihatsu says the engines shouldn't be revved over 5,800. But for highway, when I do jump on I-95 or the beltway for a quick short cut, at 7,500 I'm able to hold my own with smart cars and other slower traffic. (Of course around here, except for the squids and 4 wheeled wanna bees, those roads are limited to about 60mph.) But Leon says the valves should be floating above 6,k. I'm not finding that to be the case, and the engine temp doesn't run up much over normal lower speed driving.

    My comment about going over the falls was just to say taking a long run in one of these little guys is fine, but unless you have nothing else to drive seems as logical. We can be pretty sure the kei will do long trips, after all, I'm reading about guys with 60,000+ miles on them. They were meant for regular work and service. They can take it and put it out.

    But for long distances, unless you aren't too sure of your own ability to sit on a mechanical bull, for more than a couple of hours it seems a little senseless.:eek:

    That's when I go to more a more conventional vehicle. And on the dollars and sense side, it is probably just as cheap when you factor in the shorter driving time a full size truck lower gas consumption at lower engine speeds it needs to make longer distances.

    Finally, if the purpose is to do some meaningful work either at the destination or when you return, getting beat down by the kei can't add to the efficacy of that.

    I for one think we need keis in this country. And maybe the novelty of people seeing them on the road will move that along.


  22. BC_MMC

    BC_MMC Member

    Somebody tell us how they drove their Kei truck over the Coquihalla here in BC.
    I'm not gonna be the first to try it!
    ttc likes this.
  23. Stuff99

    Stuff99 Moderator Staff Member

    lol that would be interesting to see!
  24. Captain Nemo

    Captain Nemo Member

    From here in Va, it looks to be fun.

    Slow going up, and on the brakes going down.
    Reminds me of some of the roads in the Smokies, I lost an engine in a Land Cruiser years ago in that place.:(

  25. Little Dumper

    Little Dumper Member

    Piece of cake, as long as you keep it above 70km/h going up snowshed your fine. If you let it out of the torque peak in 4th ( mine is a 4spd) you're done and need to shift into 3rd, where you will suffer the rest of the way up at 40km/h.

    I don't drive mine above 80km/h anymore, its too hard on her. With 6.80 gears and no overdrive it just winds the piss out of the motor. With a 2wd that has OD and 6.40 gears its better, you can cruise at 100 km/h at a more reasonable 5700ish rpm.

    You just need to remember that the fastest you can go in most of Japan is only 80km/h and most off freeway limits are in the 20 to 50 km/h range......that's what these were designed for, govern yourselves accordingly.

    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  26. FiveOneOh

    FiveOneOh Member

    I cruise at 90 in the Sambar, never go above that though. it makes the trip from Vancouver to Whistler with a load of DH bikes almost every weekend throughout the summer and up the local ski hills every weekend through out the Winter.
  27. Jessf

    Jessf Member

    I never take my 1990 Sambar past 80 km/h and on a rare occasion I go 90 km/h even though I know it will go faster. I prefer to keep the RPMS low as this is my daily driver and I can't believe that driving in excess of 5600rpm twice daily is good for engine life.

    They can certainly do highway speeds but I wouldn't make a habbit of it.
  28. TamiPaulus

    TamiPaulus Member

    I do not think that the right-hand-drive vehicles are going to be banned in Canada as there a lot of right-hand-drive vehicles in Canada and public will be in big loss and potentially I do not think that there are any issues whether the steering as at left or right.
  29. Tuskano

    Tuskano Member

    I've hit close to 120kph down in California in my Hijet. That was back with it's original 660 EFI engine. Recently put a new motor in it and still breaking in the engine, so the most I have hit was 80-90kph.
  30. ozarkman

    ozarkman Member

    Can they handle the highway? Yes, but with a few caveats. I drive my '99 Mitsubishi Minicab (FI 660cc, 5-speed dual-range 4X4) everywhere except Interstates, because 1) they're not allowed on Interstates in my state, and 2) I'd rather avoid them in my mini. The following is relevant to highway driving with respect to speed and choice of aftermarket wheels and tires. Disclaimer: This info applies only to Kei trucks with front wheels positioned all the way forward to allow for adequate wheel-well clearance.
    With a 4-inch lift and a little front bumper trimming, I was able to convert to 15-inch wheels (7 inches wide with 10mm offset) and 195/60R15 highway tires. Tires with low rolling resistance makes a significant positive difference in top speed and fuel mileage. Since the new tires' diameter is 24.2 inches, the speedo reads 17.7 kmh or 11 mph lower than actual speed. So at an indicated 80 kmh, actual speed is nearly 98 kmh.
    The engine revs at the same speed as it would with stock wheels and tires, so the bigger tires act like an overdrive on the highway. On the flip side, climbing hills at lower speeds may require the next lower gear, but I've never had a problem.
    I will add that the driver must exercise more vigilance in steering these vehicles at high speeds because of their ultra-quick steering response and short wheel base. A fast maneuver or steering overcorrection at high speed can cause a catastrophic loss of control (flipping over and over, death, etc.). This tendency is well known with Jeeps, but it's even more critical to beware of in a mini truck. New wheels n tires 4-8-15.jpg New Wheels n tires Mitzi.jpg

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